The Lion King remains one of the most profitable and beloved of Disney‘s animated classics, the total package of a great voice cast, great music, and a story with universal appeal. Jon Favreau has his work cut out for him adapting The Lion King for his photorealistic remake, perhaps it’s even more of a challenge that the director’s work on The Jungle Book, given that there are a lot of people out there that grew up with the tale of Simba and his birth, exile and return as the king of the Pride. Well, Favreau’s now cast two of the movie’s trickiest roles, Timon and Pumbaa.
To play the meerkat Timon, Favreau’s cast Billy on the Street star Billy Eichner, and to play the warthog Pumba, those hooves will be filled by actor and filmmaker Seth Rogen. In The Lion King, Timon and Pumbaa are best friends who take in young Simba when he’s driven away from home after his father is killed by his Uncle Scar, and together they teach him the philosophy of “Hakuna Matata”, or “No worries”. Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella originated the roles in the 1994 film, and reprised them in several direct-to-video movies and specials, and a Timon and Pumbaa animated series that ran from 1995 to ’96.
Eichner and Rogen join a cast that includes Donald Glover as Simba, and James Earl Jones reprising the role of Mufasa. Favreau is directing from a script by Jeff Nathanson.
The Lion King will be in theatres everywhere on July 19, 2019.